Former Gilas Pilipinas head coach Rajko Toroman still thinks that the Philippines is still a force to reckon with when it comes to the Asian basketball stage.
Despite the difficulties in forming a competitive team for the 2015 Fiba Asia Championships, Toroman said Gilas could finish in the top three in the Rio qualifiers slated later in the month.
Toroman expects the new Gilas recruits to make a splash in their debut in the international stage.
“With (Andray) Blatche and the new guys in Terrence Romeo and (Calvin) Abueva, for sure, they have a chance for the medal,” he said. “If it will be enough for the championship, we will see.”
In the 2013 Fiba Asia Championships, the Philippines bagged silver behind Iran, bagging a seat in the Basketball World Cup.
But the Serbian coach, which mentored Gilas 1.0, thinks that powerhouse China and Iran are still the teams to beat.
“The contender will be China because they are the home team and Yi Jianlian will play for them, and the players have the experience.”
“Next is Iran because for eight years, the same players are there. They are very strong and they showed it in the Jones Cup that they are big contenders for the championship. Then are the Philippines and Korea. After that, there are five to six teams that are on the same level. Somebody can surprise like Japan, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Chinese Taipei.”